Ensemble Theatre Company Announces a
Thrilling Lineup of Plays for the 2017-18 Season
Santa Barbara, CA – Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) is proud to announce its 2017–2018 season of plays, the company’s fifth season in the state-of-the-art New Vic Theater in downtown Santa Barbara. ETC's 38th season features a rousing lineup of exciting new works, from a world-premiere adaptation of a Woody Allen classic film, to an inspirational jazz and blues musical about the legendary Alberta Hunter. ETC’s 2017-18 Season will build upon the momentum of its groundbreaking 2016-17 Season, one of the company’s most critically successful and popular seasons to date.
The 2017-18 Season launches with an exciting theatrical event— the world-premiere adaptation of Woody Allen’s 1992 innovative film Husbands and Wives, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay. A witty and urbane comic-drama, Husbands and Wives follows two couples, facing middle age squarely in the face, who find themselves questioning their faltering marriages. Woody Allen’s sardonic humor and razor-sharp insight permeate this story of frenetic coupling and un-coupling. Adapted and directed by Artistic Director Jonathan Fox, ETC’s production of Husbands and Wives is just the second of Allen’s many films to be adapted to the stage. Husbands and Wives runs October 5 - 22, 2017.
For the holiday season, ETC will present Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, written by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, and directed by Andrew Barnicle. In this imagined sequel to Jane Austen’s masterwork “Pride and Prejudice,” the bookish and beau-less Mary Bennet is growing tired of her role as the obedient middle sister in the face of her siblings’ whirlwind romances. When the family gathers for Christmas at Pemberley, an unexpected guest sparks Mary’s hopes for independence, an intellectual match, and the chance to be the heroine of her own story. This charming holiday play is a clever and captivating comedy of manners that will delight Austen aficionados and newcomers alike. This production is presented with support from Montecito Bank and Trust and runs November 30 – December 17, 2017.
The season continues with The City of Conversation by Anthony Giardina— a timely and moving new play that explores a family forced to choose between defending opposing political views and keeping their family together. Set in 1979, Washington, D.C., socialite Hester Ferris is notorious for her posh dinner parties that can change the course of politics. When her son turns up with an ambitious girlfriend and a newly minted political agenda, it ignites a family divide that spans 30 years and six presidential administrations. The City of Conversation runs February 8 – 25, 2018, and is presented with support from Gail Beust, and Frank and Parmele Williams.
In the spring, ETC will present Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar’s gripping new play, The Invisible Hand. Capitalism intersects with Islamic fanaticism in a race against time in this heart-pounding thriller, set in Pakistan. An American investment banker is kidnapped by an extremist organization and held for a $10 million ransom. When his company refuses to meet the terrorists’ demands, he convinces his captors that he can manipulate the stock market to make his own ransom. The production is sponsored by Chuck and Missy Sheldon, and runs April 12-29, 2018. The Invisible Hand is presented in a co-production with The English Theater Frankfurt, continental Europe’s largest English-speaking theater. Their most recent collaboration was on their critically-acclaimed 2016 production of Bad Jews. The play will be directed by Jonathan Fox.
ETC will close the 2017-18 Season with Cookin’ at the Cookery, a two-woman musical that brings jazz and blues legend Alberta Hunter’s extraordinary and improbable life story to the stage. A musical sensation in the 1920s through the 1950s, Alberta Hunter set aside her life as a singer during the peak of her career to help others as a hospital nurse, following the death of her beloved mother. Forced to retire at the age of 82, her musical career experienced a remarkable rebirth at New York’s celebrated music venue The Cookery, where her unique style and salty repartee became an instant hit. Featuring a live, on-stage band, Cookin’ at the Cookery is written and directed by Marion J. Caffey, and features such hits as “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “Darktown Strutters Ball.” The production, which runs June 7 – 24, 2018, is sponsored by Dana White, and The Zegar Family Foundation, and is presented with support from Sybil Rosen, and Barbara and Sam Toumayan.
Founded in 1979, Ensemble Theatre Company is Santa Barbara’s leading professional, resident theater company. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jonathan Fox and Managing Director Jill Seltzer, ETC has attracted accomplished performing artists from around the country. ETC’s 2017-18 Season has been generously sponsored by Leatrice Luria.
Subscriptions to the 2017-18 Season are on sale now and start at $150 for a five-play preview series. Special student subscriptions are available for $90, and subscriptions for theatergoers aged 29-and-under are just $150. Single tickets will go on sale in August. For more information, please call the Ensemble Theatre Company box office at 805-965-5400